Friday, September 30, 2011

Police Chief Chat

Drug watch: Rolla - On Tuesday, September 27, 2011, members of South Central Drug Task Force, in coordination with the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Rolla Police Department, and Missouri State Highway Patrol, concluded a series long term narcotics investigations in Phelps County, Missouri. Over the course of approximately 18 months, officers with South Central Drug Task Force, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Rolla Police Department, and Missouri State Highway Patrol were able to conduct a series of narcotics investigations involving the distribution/sales/possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and prescription medications. The investigation involved approximately 90 individuals in and around the Phelps County, Missouri area and of those 90 individuals 21 are scheduled to be arrested during the roundup today. Grand Jury Indictments for each defendant were obtained through the Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office prior to the mass arrest operation initiated this morning. A majority of the individuals for today’s roundup have a Crawford County address. Arrest teams consist of members of the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Rolla Police Department, Cuba Police Department, Steelville Police Department, Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and South Central Drug Task Force.
This operation is active and arrest teams are still seeking to arrest those indicted. The success of this investigation was only possible through the cooperative efforts of all agencies involved. Agencies Involved: South Central Drug Task Force, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Rolla Police Department, Cuba Police Department, Steelville Police Department and the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group. I very proud of the team effort of area L.E. in catching those that sell drugs in our community, Keep up the great work.

St. Louis - The United States Attorney’s Office announced last week that William Zaritz was indicted on federal charges involving his alleged distribution of over 50 grams of methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in August 2011. William “Mick” Zaritz, 59, Phelps County, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of being a previously convicted felon in possession of ammunition and one felony count if distribution in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine. He was arraigned in federal court today. If convicted, the weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; the drug charge carries a penalty range of five to 40 years in prison. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges. This case was investigated by the South Central Drug Task Force and the Rolla Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Bert is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

I wanted you to know that with resources gathered from the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, South Central Drug Task Force and the Rolla Police Department we have comprised an energetic, and highly motivated pro active team of experienced investigators to go after the serious criminals in our county. We do not want criminals moving here from other areas, spreading their criminal ways and selling their poisons to our community. The criminal element that is already here will be sought out using any means and tactics available in a concentrated effort to rid these people from society. We will continue our efforts until we are certain this type of activity no longer exists. There are still ongoing covert investigations, arrest warrants to be issued and criminals to be arrested. If you are dealing illegal drugs in this community, your days are numbered! I am very proud of the multi-jurisdictional team effort we have established and extremely proud of the success of our operations. Keep up the great work.

This past week, the Rolla Police Department has handled 795 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 42 arrests, 10 alarms, 17 accidents, 34 traffic complaints, 7 check the well being, 133 traffic stops, 25 disturbance (including domestics), 16 suspicious nature, 19 assists of other agencies, 4 abandon vehicles, 17 court process service, 3 juvenile complaints, 4 open doors, 4 harassments, 43 animal control calls, 8 recovered property calls, 9 loitering complaints, 7 leave without pay complaints. This call total is up 73 calls from last week and yes, another busy week.

On Thursday afternoon, members of the South Central Drug Task Force and Patrolman Chris Reeder received awards from the US Attorney’s Office in St. Louis for their outstanding investigations into drug activity in and around Phelps County, netting the arrest and conviction of 2 high profile drug dealers from the area. The awards were received during the US Attorney’s Office annual awards ceremony in St. Louis. Capt. Jason Smith, Lt. Doug James and Lt. Rick Hope from the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department traveled to St. Louis for the ceremony. Great job guys!

This past week, Special Olympics – Missouri provided the combined totals of all money raised for the Special Olympic athletes through the Law Enforcement Torch Run activites held over the past year. This year’s total is a whopping $2,280,814.00. This is the first year since the Torch Run’s inception that the total has been over 2 million dollars! We are extremely proud of our law enforcement brothers and sisters who work so hard throughout the year to support the SO athletes. This money will allow those physically and mentally challenged athletes to participate in sporting events that will help build self-esteem and allow them the true spirit of competition. The Rolla Police Department has been a proud sponsor of Special Olympics since 1983 and has raised many thousands of dollars over the years with our t-shirt sales, torch run, polar plunges, polar strut events, fire truck pulls, trivia night, Rolla Motorcycle Rally and many other events. We will continue to support Special Olympics and would like to thank you for all your contributions through the years.

Have a great week!

Chief Mark Kearse

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